Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Open Letter to Mark Driscoll

Dear Mr. Driscoll:

My name is Rose Swetman and I am the Co-Pastor of Vineyard Community Church in Shoreline, WA. This is an open letter and response to you concerning your recent blog post titled “Evangelical Leader Quits Amid Allegations of Gay Sex and Drug Use” and your next post, titled, “Ted Haggard Scandal 2.0.” I have followed and added some of my own responses to some of the recent flurry of reaction on various blog sites to some of your statements.

Several things are true about both of us. First, I am a woman, a pastor, and have a specific set of theological presuppositions. I am given to peacemaking. You are male, a pastor, and also have a specific set of theological presuppositions and by your own admission a street fighter. It is through each of our lens that we see and teach the things we do. We both bring different strengths and weaknesses to the body of Christ. Therefore, I speak to you as your peer and your equal before God.

I do not make a habit of responding publicly to church leaders about controversy (although I have placed the comments noted above recently). I rather, because of my leanings toward peacemaking, try to find and keep unity (not uniformity) in the body of Christ. However, recently I have felt like Jude. I find it necessary, in light of the protest planned on your church, to speak out as a pastor, not a feminist pastor, but a woman pastor, on this present controversy because it is affecting the local body of believers who I am called to serve.

From the things I have read, it is apparent that we do not share the same starting point theologically about “women in ministry.” You seem to place yourself in a view held by such noted biblical scholars as Wayne Grudem, called the Complementarian view of male and female gender roles. As I have read your posts and listened to some of your sermon presentations, I rather think you are theologically a Traditionalist and maybe, without knowing it, you are masquerading as a Complementarian. On a recent post on the Act 29 website called “Is the biblical view of women applicable in our culture today?” (May 8 2006), your wife Grace writes on this issue. I assume for discussion that the two of you would hold similar if not equal theological views on this subject. In that article Grace wrote:

To answer the initial question that I asked about the Bible, we have to ask who our God is. Does what the Bible say about women really apply to us today in this culture (submission, can’t be a pastor, weaker vessel, more easily deceived, etc.)? Yes. God created us to submit, not because He hates us, rather because He loves us enough to protect us. Doesn’t it make us too vulnerable to ours husbands? As daughters of Eve we are more easily deceived, but like Ruth under the security of our husband and our God we are safe. Doesn’t it limit our ability to demonstrate our gifts? No. We can lead children and women, which is what a Titus 2 woman should desire.
This teaching alone leads me to perceive that you would follow more to a Traditionalist view of gender roles.

I believe the Egalitarian view of gender roles as closer to the intent of what Scripture teaches and held by such scholars as Gordon Fee and Rebecca Groothuis. I believe Scripture teaches the equality of genders in creation and that female submission, if that is what “rule” means in the fall story, started the idea of patriarchy. Patriarchy was the result of sin and the curse rather than God’s created intention.

My basic theological presupposition is Kingdom of God theology ala George Ladd and N. T. Wright’s theological input. I believe the Kingdom is here now, but “not yet.” This view leads me to the conclusion that the future of the Kingdom is here in the present and that we, the church, are to be a sign and witness of Kingdom order. When the Kingdom is consummated, the Scripture states that “we will all” reign with Christ. I believe that this is a fair biblical perspective. One you and many others may disagree with, but good Christians may disagree without using unchristian and uncharitable words when they differ. I would call your attention to the debates between N. T. Wright and Marcus Borg who have many differing views about the “Historical Jesus,” but in public conversation remained civil in their debate.

It seems to me that in your “Traditional,” or as some have stated, “hard Complementarian” view of Scripture, you seemed to have developed a rather unhealthy, vitriolic, abrasive, unchristian, and uncharitable form of rhetoric to describe women in your posts and sermons. You have been labeled with the descriptive word, “misogynist” by some. When I hear that word used, I don’t just think about a person that only “hates” women, rather I think of the word as also carrying an injustice ideology, similar to racism or anti-Semitism. For me a misogynist justifies and maintains a subordination of women by men for reasons that are not always apparent. I know you say that you believe in equality, just difference of roles. But, to hold a view that submission is in a woman’s DNA, which then disallows equal ministry with a man, is to hold both a far reaching and a destructive theology. The passage in Galatians about no Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free seems to sum up God’s story in Jesus. For some, this issue injures the heart of God because of his desire for justice. It is for many men and women a justice issue as was, and still is to some degree, the issue of racism in and out of the church in the last century.

Here are a few illustrations of what you have said verbally or in writing that I personally find offensive. I have not referenced these quotes but can if need be.

First, there are varying degrees of “Christian” feminism and the more hardened variety is the battering ram on the church door that opens the way for homosexuality. What I mean is this: if we deny the Biblical tenets that we were made equal but distinct as male and female, with differing God-intended roles in the church and home, then homosexuality is the logical conclusion.
Remember, I believe in an Egalitarian view of gender roles. Your comments above seem to say that you would call me a “Christian” feminist. You teach that women like me are out of God’s intended roles for women in the church and home and that if the church allows women in ministry then homosexuals in ministry would be the next logical conclusion. This is not only offensive to me, it is demeaning of my personhood. I would consider myself a daughter of my Father in heaven rather than a daughter of Eve, as per your wife’s article. I believe the work of Jesus has reversed the curse and set me free. I no longer live in Genesis Chapter 3.

Women will be saved by going back to the role that God has chosen for them.
Sensitive men and women with only a passing acquaintance of a theological mindset would naturally hear how unchristian this statement is. It seems you hold the opinion that if I don’t follow the role that you think God has chosen for me, a role that you find favorable because of the theological lens you see through, then I am not saved.

All of this has led this blogger to speculate that if Christian males do not man up soon, the Episcopalians may vote a fluffy baby bunny rabbit as their next bishop to lead God’s men. When asked for their perspective, some bunny rabbits simply said that they have been discriminated against long enough and that people need to "Get over it."
It appears to me that in an effort to be cute or funny, neither of which works, this statement is one of the most mean-spirited I have ever read. Even if you had many valid points from your theological lens in your post, to name-call an ordained minister, whether you agree or not, a “bunny rabbit,” you need to “man up” and retract such a demeaning statement and issue an apology. I wonder why you don’t use such inflammatory language when you write for the Seattle Times!

Now to the point of the Ted Haggard posts. I am going to assume you have not been totally insulated from the firestorm over your comments such as:

Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.
And then:

Contrary to some who misrepresented my prior blog, Gayle is in no way responsible for the sin of her husband and by all accounts seems to have been a lovely and devoted wife.
These two comments, no matter how you explain them, are an offense to many women, let alone pastors' wives, and to me personally. Can’t you see how even posting that women have motives such as this — my husband is a pastor so he is trapped into fidelity so I can sit back and let myself go — is offensive? In the second post, you sound patronizing and demeaning of Gayle Haggard calling her “lovely and devoted.” Please don’t call me out as a feminist that does not want to be considered “lovely’ or “devoted” because that is not my issue. The issue is that Ted Haggard’s struggle is homosexuality. It did not seem to matter if Gayle Haggard was the most beautiful, devoted woman, and with her husband the most sexually active woman on the planet, it would not have changed this situation one iota. So for you make this statement in these terms and make it an issue of sexual impropriety, failure, and sin, in my opinion, simply misses the point. It is offensive to talk to men and women this way and certainly reveals something about your character which for this reader seems rather prurient. One of the marks of a great leader, when she or he discovers that they have not faired well under their responsibility to not arbitrarily offend, is to make a public or private apology as the circumstances dictate. Because this was a public statement, it calls for a public apology.

Here are some examples where men have spoken out to support and correct you.

As someone who has spoken out in favor of women in leadership and against Mark’s often-times poorly chosen words and hurtful ideas… I still need to say that I have grave reservations about one set of Christians publicly protesting another set.”

Bob has called you out several times on what many perceived as hurtful ideas and poorly chosen words. I have never seen you apologize or retract. This is disturbing because you have been given a large stage from which to speak. As one Christian leader to another, I believe you need to take responsibility in choosing your words. This boils down to an issue with power and how power is stewarded by leaders. You have continually used your power to demean people with derogatory terms such as “limp wristed, and chickified
And I might add, the PAF group do not identify as a Christian group and don’t seem to be attempting to operate under the constraints of any particular religious guidelines. This is a social justice issue.

These words might seem “hip” to you, but others don’t view it that way. Here are a couple of thoughts from Andrew Jones’ blog (I think Andrew would consider himself your friend). He has posted on the website that is organizing the protest against your teaching and irresponsible use of rhetoric. Here is what Andrew says:

I am not defending mark’s statement here, and i understand the tension and anger, but i just think this protest is too severe, too early, and too divisive. I have not heard yet of your failed attempts to chat with mark about it and I don’t see the love and godly concern for mark that should underlie an attempt at discipline. My gut feeling is that this protest is not a good idea right now and another measure should be found.
And here are a couple of comments from Andrew’s blog, highlights mine:

It saddens me even more that Driscoll (and those who know him) are aware of his tendency towards verbal violence & have known it for some time. Posted by: Bob C | Jan 28, 2006 8:13:28 PM
Here’s another:

Thanks for this piece, esp on the history of relations between the various leaders of Emergent and folks like Driscoll.

Two comments:

First, I have no idea where you get your definition of "midrash" for your definition sounds more like Hegelian dialectic. Midrash is interpretation of all sorts, not just the clashing of views.

Second, it is very pomo of you to say you like Driscoll so therefore you put up with his comments, for it shows the interpersonal relations inherent to all genuine conversation. But, as we learned from Aristotle, relationship does always mean condoning but involves correction and exhortation. Driscoll's rhetoric is uncharitable and unchristian, even if one agrees with his overall stance (which is traditional) about homosexuality.

Andrew, I rarely see such vitriol coming from a Christian leader, and I'd like you to reconsider support of his rhetoric as something Driscoll is known for. Offensive rhetoric puts folks on their heals; conversation welcomes to the table; the pursuit of truth enables us to argue our differences. Posted by: Scot McKnight | Jan 28, 2006 8:49:35 PM
This open letter is an attempt on my part to ask you to stop your insulting rhetoric and not abuse the power that has been given you by using bombastic statements about people, both male and especially the demeaning way you name-call women. In my opinion, you are causing injury to your brothers and sisters. There is enough injury inflicted from our enemy without leaders of the flock adding to the amount of injury.

We are all free to speak our mind and choose the words we use when we speak. However, we as pastors serving in the greater Seattle area and beyond, also have a responsibility to not use our freedom of speech to cause undue harm on the members of the body of Christ. With that in mind, Andrew, Bob, and others have called for a meeting to sit down with you and have a conversation, in which those of us who are offended with the way in which you have used your voice, and those who wish to protest you and your church may dialogue. I do not have any power to stop the protest, but as a woman, an ordained minister, and fully committed follower of Jesus that has been offended by you, I am asking if you are willing to sit down and converse?

I would appreciate a public response to this letter. You get to choose. I hope as a reformed street-fighter, which you have referred to yourself as, that you are able to find a way to be a part of the conversation. I await your response.

Peace and grace,

Rose Swetman
Vineyard Community Church
Shoreline, WA


PJ said...

Very nice post. I appreciate what you have to say. It comes from a calm and reasoned point of view. I used to be a woman minister and served under a women senior pastor. I am glad there are more woman rising up and speaking about what has been wrong in the church for so long. May God bless you.


Steve said...

Well done. Really well done. I'm proud to say I know you. I'm not in a proper "pastoral" role, but as a fellow minister in the Seattle area, I'd be happy to co-sign this letter as a loving, level-headed appeal. Thanks for your courage and uprightness.

Robbymac said...

This is such a refreshingly balanced and peace-making approach, especially compared to some of the hate-filled venom I've seen on other people's blogs.

Great job, Rose. I hope this makes an impact!

Anonymous said...

Rose -
Fantastic response. Gracious and articulate, and truly representative of what I'd hope to see of a follower of Jesus. You've set a fine example for others to follow.

I can only hope and pray that Mark, or someone from Mars Hill, will respond in kind.

Mike Clawson said...

Way to go Rose! Very well said. I hope Mark really does have the courage to actually give you a public reply.

BTW, are you and Rich taking part in the protest or will you encourage others in your church to? I have mixed feelings about it, but I do think something pro-active needs to be done.

Just wondering.


graham old said...

That's a very well-written and good-natured post.

Thanks for making it public.

Joy said...

To quote Emeril, "BAM!!"

OMgosh Rose... This is the most thorough, kind and thoughtful response.

I hope MD reads this!

samlee said...

Good job Rose.

Helen said...

Rose, your letter is wonderfully thoughtful and articulate.

As Rose knows, I've posted a copy of it on my blog, here in case anyone wants to see what responses it's received there.

Anonymous said...

Rose, Thank you for such a powerful witness to the reign of God in the way that you responded to this. I've come late to the conversation, but so appreciate your words.


Paul Moment said...

Rose, good post - one worth writing. Just don't expect a response. Mark thrives off of conflict. I think he's actually kind of addicted to it. I worked closely with/around him for quite a while, and I think he needs it in part to feel like he's relevant and hip. Put that together with his fundamentalist and dogmatic reading of Scripture, and his rhetoric is a foregone conclusion. He'll only allow argument on his own rhetorical/theological turf, and he'll never concede to losing there, so to ask for anything otherwise is pointless.

Personally, I think that like any chronic arguer, the best solution is to ignore the inflammatory designed-to-rile statements, refuse to respond in kind, let him use up his own oxygen and public credibility arguing in a vacuum, and watch him eventually fizzle out. In the meantime, I'd say your energy is better served showing how strong and necessary committed female leaders are for the church.

Thx for your work.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for this fabulous, thoughtful address. I'm so grateful to you for bringing the words of many excellent theologians into the mix. I've posted your letter over at my blog today. monkfish-abbey.org.

Much Shalom,


Anonymous said...

I am a woman getting ready to enter the ministry. I often feel "worn down" by forceful, mean people (men and women) who insist that I am mistaken in my choice of vocation. Your respone to Driscoll has inspired me and strengthened me today. Despite what ever other response you receive, or don't receive, know that you have helped me immensely and perhaps other women as well. God Bless You!

John Santic said...


Your letter is one that exudes the humility of Christ and a necessary one to write.

Bill Bean said...

Well said Rose!

Dwayne Forehand said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sue said...

I add my voice to those who commend you for this post. Thank you so much for your courage and for taking on this difficult task with such grace. I think it is important for the Seattle community and beyond to know that Mark Driscoll does not speak for many, many Christians. Thank you for standing up to this bully.

Anonymous said...

i hope you will email him this letter so he can dialogue with it.

Pam Hogeweide said...


you rocked my world nearly a year ago when you said to me, "Women in leadership is not a theological issue but an issue of justice."

Today your letter demonstrates your commitment to marry kindness with truth and justice. Even if Mr Driscoll does not respond, I think your words will reverberate around the blogosphere, like a lighthouse in the storm. We can be Christlike in our opposition to that which we find unjust.

Ingrid said...

Rose, thank you for leading by example. I am so thankful that there are women around me that speak against injustice. Driscoll may never read this or understand but we do....and it is time to stand for God's promise for us all.

flathead said...


I appreciate your tone which is gracious and kind. However, you have just called out publicly a fellow brother in Christ! Is this peacemaking?

Please, go and talk to him directly. I am not buying the "what is publicly said needs a public rebuke and then a return public apology" approach. Let him come to that conclusion himself after you have talked with him in private.

Rose, please check your own motives. It is one thing to air your theological convictions but entirely another matter to address your "sensitivities" concerning another Christian on a public weblog.

Please, go to him and be quiet about it. Leave room for both the justice of God and the grace of God. It will be better received by all including Mr. Driscoll.


Ish Engle said...


First, let me say that I admire your courage to stand up and speak some challenging words to an ungenerous speaker.

I love the overall tone of your letter, but I too think that it will go unanswered. The type of person who uses such theology/rhetoric does not reply to invitations to conversation.

The only issues I have with your letter are small, but I would appreciate your feedback about them. First, the opening of your letter (basically until the paragraph beginning "My basic theological presupposition" seems to me almost an ad hominem argument. I am unsure of the need for bringing this into the debate, especially as much seems to be based on Grace's words, not Marks (though your assumption seems valid and is one I too would make.)

The second part also concerns an apparent ad hominem argument. When Driscol makes as close to an apology as I've ever seen him make, you point out that he "sounds patronizing." Not a true attack at the man, but it seems to be a slip from a gracious letter to a bitter attack. He's sure to say, "even when I apologize I'm criticized!" Surely not your intention.

Again, I feel your letter is bold, strong, courageous and timely. I just want to caution you to not play his game.


Ish Engle

Ross said...


I am in complete agreement with you over the way Mark has expressed himself. I am concerned, though, that people seem to be saying now that Mark should not even be allowed to hold his point of view.

I am also extremely concerned about the planned protest at Mars Hill. This is doing those of us who are worried about some of Mark's comments no good at all.

If we share the same Lord as Mark, and I assume we do, then we need to embrace him as a brother, not attack him as an enemy. I know you want to do this, but there are a lot out there who do not.

Pam Hogeweide said...

Does the Apostle Paul know about this? I think he took issue with Peter in front of everybody about some things. And then there's Jesus, he was quite public in confronting some folks who were teaching things that were a bit offbase.

Martin Luther was very public, and perhaps a bit theatrical with that whole nailing the theses on the door affair. I'm not sure if he tried reasoning with the church leaders first, or whatever, but he went for it.

And the other thing is that if you are going to blog, which is a public forum by nature, than that invites public comment. Driscoll's comments were not made in a private party or closed event, but in the blogosphere,whichhas become the town square of cyberspace.

I love the bumpersticker I saw recently:

Polite women rarely change history.

The same could be said of Quiet Women.

May God turn your voice up Rose!

Steve said...

To Flathead,
I appreciate the tone of your comment. However, Rose is attempting to address a problem at the same level the problem was created - in a public space. Also, you may not be aware of this, but many of us in the Seattle area know from experience that people seeking an audience with Mark Driscoll are almost never granted one when it comes to a situation like this. That goes double if the person requesting a meeting is female. That's not conjecture or an unfair accusation - it's reality. Again, I appreciate the tone of your suggestion, which appears to be toward unity and resolution.

Southworth Sailor said...


I'm wondering if Matthew 18 has anything to do with your letter. If Mark has offended you, why is your first response to tell the world and organize a protest?


Anonymous said...

This is a great example of why God says what he does about women in ministry. Rose is so clearly blinded and deceived that she is willing to lie about what God says and lie about what others say.

For the good of the gospel and the good of the church, Rose should quit her church immediately, and publicly repent for her disobedience to God.

This post is so full of hate it makes Driscoll look like Robert Schuller. The problem is that Rose doesn't recognize the hate that proceeds from her own mind. She has justified it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rose.
Blessings in your ministry.

paul said...

Hi Rose, I responded to Jason Clark posting your letter on his site and thought I would do you the courtesy of copying my comments here...

Personally I see this as a sad day for the faith, I wonder what constructive value such an open letter will have - will it soften Mark's views? Will it prompt open constructive dialogue? Or will it... instead sharpen the divide between egalatarian and tradionalist? Give us all another chance to rush in and attack or defend Mark, depending...

Why not just write to him privately? If all of us who feel strong enough to write a post on the subject instead wrote to Mark in a spirit of charity and said you probably don't care but I was going to post this but instead I thought I'd write and let you know how I feel...

I have to wonder how someone who describes himself as a 'street fighter' will react to an invitation to a bare knuckle theological fight?

I also wonder what is the motive of someone who 'wants to take one for the team' if it is not precisely to provoke this sort of response so he can take one for the team, a martyr to his version of masculinity?

Now I make no secret that I disagree with Mark's views as I have posted on this site my own position here however I doubt whether this sort of communication will change Mark's mind, as Rose points out he is not alone in such a position.

What then is the alternative - for those of us who disagree to treat Mark lovingly, to starve him of the storm that he wants to kick up by refusing to fight, to instead examine our own theology and life style to make sure we are indeed practicing what we preach and communicate that instead?

I wonder what will impact Mark more is when he is his own pears and mentors talk with him about his approach and if instead of hardening that divide we keep ourselves soft, open and loving and working directly and in private?


Andy said...


I was gonna email this because I feel hypocritical but I couldn't see an email address on your blog. I wanted to know if you or anyone at the PAF had bothered to call Mark first. This all seems very reactionary. I thought the biblical principle was to take a problem to a brother/sister in private, then if that didn't work take an elder with you and then if that didn't work deal with it in front of the body.

Matt Myers said...

Hi Rose,
Well thought out post. I respect you position and your theology. I am a pastor myself and am currently teaching / dealing with this women in ministry issue because one of our small group leaders is a woman and is being attacked by some others because they think she should remain silent. I think they are wrong and am trying to show them what the Bible truly teaches.
However, I have to take issue with the entire premise of the letter or any protest that would take place. Why must Mark stop commenting in any way about theological matters that he finds important in the manner he does? Why is that so important to you? Why would Mark offend you so greatly? What possible benefit would any kind of protest bring? What could protestors possibly hope to gain and what possible Biblical rights do they feel they have to do so? I personally believe that it would be wise to put the gas cans away and let Mark's fire burn because that is his perogative. Until his own elders or people in authority in his life speaks to him, it is not your job to police his rhettoric...however offensive it may personally be to you and others like you.

Lori said...

This is in response to "Flathead"'s comments about speaking to Mark Driscoll in private. Pastor Driscoll made his comments in public - in a public blog and in the public pulpit. He is not ashamed to make his prounouncements on women, emergent theologians, Episcopalians etc. public - nor should the Church feel they must cloak their response in secrecy. This story is no longer a local one - it has been blogged about by writers such as Andrew Sullivan of Time Magazine and Salon.com. Secondly, for those of you interested in making an appointment with him, my understanding is that he is scheduled two years in advance and there are no appointments. People I know have had difficulty reaching him by normal means (phone, email etc.). Peace making cannot take place in a void. I think Pastor Madrid-Swetman has avoided either extreme and has invited him to an open, caring discussion with people of honesty and good will. I appreciate her efforts and hope that Pastor Driscoll responds to this overture in a manner worthy of Christ who did not hide His light under a bushel.

Gary Means said...

Thank you, Rose, for what you have done. Also, thank you for your gracious comments on my blog. I saw that your letter was being copied and posted on other blogs (Scot McKnight's in particular) so I took the liberty of doing the same on my blog.

Did you see my suggestion about a meeting to pray for Mark Driscoll and his church? Does that sound plausible. reasonable, and/or valuable? Here is what I said:

I wonder how many people would come if there were a meeting devoted to prayer for Mark Driscoll and his church?

I wonder how people would react if this time of prayer started with the assumption that advocating the subjugation/abuse of women in the name of God is wrong, dishonoring to God, an impediment to God's Kingdom, and harmful to Christians and the community at large?

If wonder, if that were the presupposition, would people be willing to gather to pray for grace, love, freedom, and humility to prevail in Mark's heart and mind, in his teachings, and in his church? I would.

To be honest, I have more confidence in God changing Mark's heart than in a positive outcome resulting from a protest. I am not saying that people should not protest, I understand the desire to make a public statement against an evil practice. I am simply proposing a complementary tactic.

If anyone wants to further discuss this idea, they can contact me at blessedare@hotmail.com



ryanbd said...

*From Kristi, my wife*

Thank you for your letter. Having spent time reading Mark's own words, I
find no respect, love, or spirit of Christ reflected towards idividuals
with whom he disagrees (see "To Hell with Hell" - MD blog), nor common
respect shown towards women in general, as demonstrated on many

Have we not all fallen short of the glory of God, and is not the
directive of the Christian faith to love one another as God has loved
us? It is saddening to me that this kind of language would attract such
a following.

I would like to see your views be joined (signed by) a group of regional
pastors (both men and women) who serve this area as peers in ministry
with this pastor, to call out this abusive language and inappropriate
use of Christian power leveraging itself against those considered (in
error) to be inferior (for as you say, we live in grace beyond Genesis
3) to the originator of the words. This pastor has been approached
individually on many occasions without result, and I believe this action
is consistent with the Biblical model for confrontation in love.

I would like to believe that this would be impactful to the Mars Hill
faith community, and that they would call for a greater level of
accountability from their leader.


ryanbd said...

Thank you for your letter. Having spent time reading Mark's own words, I
find no respect, love, or spirit of Christ reflected towards idividuals
with whom he disagrees (see "To Hell with Hell" - MD blog), nor common
respect shown towards women in general, as demonstrated on many

Have we not all fallen short of the glory of God, and is not the
directive of the Christian faith to love one another as God has loved
us? It is saddening to me that this kind of language would attract such
a following.

I would like to see your views be joined (signed by) a group of regional
pastors (both men and women) who serve this area as peers in ministry
with this pastor, to call out this abusive language and inappropriate
use of Christian power leveraging itself against those considered (in
error) to be inferior (for as you say, we live in grace beyond Genesis
3) to the originator of the words. This pastor has been approached
individually on many occasions without result, and I believe this action
is consistent with the Biblical model for confrontation in love.

I would like to believe that this would positively impact the Mars Hill faith community, and that they would call for a greater level of
accountability from their leader.


Anonymous said...


I must admit i don't know much about you. I ran across what you said on the Jesus Creed site. I just want to thank you for your words. Your words are really a bright and shinning light during this time of struggle for the the north americain church. Thank you once again.

Chris Koebel
Winnipeg, Canada

ryanbd said...

Flathead - your impulse is correct in exhorting people to go directly to Mark. The problem is, he has repeatedly ignored his colleagues that he might disagree with when they've tried to contact him.

Rose, your letter is excellent - an excellent example to other pastors like myself. I find Mark's language frankly disgusting, bizarre at times and over-sexualized. I pray that whatever has shaped his distorted, un-Godly understanding of power and Christ's creation would be seen for what it is: abusive and false. Like others, my wife and I know many who attend Mars Hill. I'm beginning to think it's time to ask them what their experience has been; do they see what we see; does Mark speak this way from the microphone? Is he so reveared (feared) that there is no mechanism to call him to accountability or question what he says? What does it say about a leader who is so defensive and confrontational that folks are wary of approaching him? It's sad, really.

Parker said...

Interesting post, Rose. It seems somewhat contradictory to me that people would commend you for "peace-making" and then trash Driscoll in the comments, but you can remove those I guess.

I find your signature line interesting because you invert Paul's well used phrase: grace and peace. You are trumpeting peace, which the Bible clearly states is one of the purposes for the first-coming of Christ (Luke 1:79, 2:14, etc.). However, Jesus did not come merely to bring peace, as he stated in the gospels (Matt 10:34-35), but also a sword, dividing wrong from right, bone from marrow, truth from error. (Gal 2:11) Everyone agrees that Christians make mistakes, but in order to discern which person is wrong, there must be some objective standard to judge by. Here is the crux of the argument, in my opinion. Driscoll's claim that, "the more hardened variety [of feminism] is the battering ram on the church door that opens the way for homosexuality" is a line in the sand. To take any verse, 1 Tim 2:12 in this case, and make it meaningless by applying postmodern arguments about culture to it is not only a tragedy, but it opens the door to do the same to other scriptures. That is the heart of the argument, and each person will have to take a stand on one side of the argument. I would humbly submit to you that while the Complementarians can appeal to 1 Tim 2:12, Egalitarians are forced to a) read into various scriptures a meaning that is not present and b) take their stand on a slippery slope that leads to an increasing minimization of the meaning of the Bible.

I know you are busy and receive many comments, but I would interested to hear your response to this comment.

Grace and Peace, Parker

Jason Clark said...

Mark seems to have made some response here:


Helen said...

By the way, Rachelle is kindly offering hurt people a safe place to share their Mars Hill stories. She writes:

If you are a woman (or man) who has been damaged by the harsh complementarian doctrine that has been passed down at Mars Hill Church, I would like to offer you a place to tell your story. Out of a pastoral concern for the former Mars Hill women I have known – and for the many I’ve yet to meet—I would like to offer my blog as a place to tell your story in safety. May this, my virtual living room, be a place where you can curl up under an afghan, hold someone’s hand, and tell your story. It’s okay to use a whole box of Kleenex. We’ll still be here.

She will post your stories anonymously and close comments wherever someone posts a story.

Thank you, Rachelle.

David M said...


I too appreciate what you have written, but it seems like all you have done is nothing more than state that you believe his theological system is not the right one (i.e. not the one you think is best). That's not a critique, that's just clarifying.

Even your post itself puts some respectable, God-loving theologians in Driscoll's camp. I'm pretty surprised by this and others' posts regarding egalitarianism. Just stating they are wrong doesn't do or mean anything. You haven't done anything that Driscoll hasn't done.

Please either appeal to something other than, "Me and these other authors and theologians don't agree so you should change." Your writing indicates a HIGH degree of mental and writing skill. I'd love to see what would happen if you were to write something that would push this dialogue *further*

David Malouf
Phoenix, Arizona

Gary Means said...

First of all, thank you for speaking out against injustice and spiritual abuse.

I wonder if you will actually receive a response from anyone in leadership at Mars Hill? I know that several people have tried to get ahold of Mark to discuss this issue with him privately, but were told that there is a two-year waiting list to be able to speak to him privately, or some such nonsense. I hope that people like "flathead" realize that this has moved into the public arena because Driscoll refuses to see people privately on this issue.

I saw that Scot McKnight posted a copy of your letter on his blog, so I took the liberty of doing the same on mine. I hope you don't mind.

May God richly bless you, and work powerfully in and through you.

I thought I had sent a comment on this before, but Blogger was being Blogger so I'm not sure if it went through.

Mike Clawson said...


Maybe you missed the fact in all of this that Mark will not sit down with people personally to discuss any of this. People have tried to make appointments to express their concerns face-to-face and have been turned away. In light of this, public open letters seems to be the only way to actually get Mark's attention.

Mark has no problem publically telling everyone exactly who he doesn't like and why (whether it's Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, Jefferts-Schori, or whomever) so why aren't you criticizing him for "calling out" other brothers and sisters in Christ himself?

This is quite the double standard. Mark is allowed to attack anyone he likes, but if anyone cries foul and asks him to tone it down, suddenly we are the unChristian ones.

Winn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Ms. Madrid-Swetman,
I write this, not as a complementarian, but as a fellow pastor. Though I agree with Mark Driscoll on his view of gender roles, I would not associate with all of the ways he chooses to communicate.

Please know that since my opinion is differing than yours, you do not have to post it unless you wish to.

My concern about your post is that it is one that could have been done in an e-mail or letter directly to Mr. Driscoll instead of publically. Since you are a fellow pastor, I know that you desire to care for people and not slander them publically, but your post seems to be a "rallying point" for those in your camp rather than a humble suggestion for a brother in Christ.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and if you feel that I am sinfully judging you in any way, please tell me. For this is not my desire.

I can be reached at www.rolecalling.blogspot.com.
God bless,
mike seaver

Kansas Bob said...

This is a very well written response on a very controversial topic. I have been saddened by the exchanges around Ted Haggard. I have also been dismayed about Mark Discoll’s comments. I pastor with several women and have found the following magnificently true of their leadership and ministries:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)

I would match any of my female colaborers in the Kingdom to any male minister/pastor.

Blessings, Bob

Kansas Bob said...

For a good discussion of this topic I recommend this article from our church website.

Kansas Bob said...

Mark Driscoll has posted a response at:

Robin said...

Awful..... That is what I think of you response.

I agree with a previous commenter that thinks you have jettisoned the biblical requirements for admonition in order to have a rallying point for your cause.

I also despise the actual substance of your comments. Regarding the linking of female pastors and homosexual leadership...there is a logical connection, you may not see it but there is. When one says, "Oh, all of that gender role stuff in the bible, that was just a cultural thing, Paul wasn't enlightened and surely if he could do things over he would want female pastors" If you accept that premise, then on what basis can you reasonably deny the possibility that homosexuals should not be ordained, they have the same cultural argument that you do.

Secondly, with his arguments about what can cause sexual immorality in pastors. You think it is offensive that he implies that sometimes the lack of effort by a spouse to remain sexually available can damage the sex life of a couple. IS IT TRUE???? Yes, it is true, and who cares what the motives behind the woman or the man are? He is being honest, which is more than I can say for you in your prim and proper pharisaical attack. He, unlike yourself, is trying to provide real counsel for men struggling with issues while you prefer to throw ideological darts because he is not nice enough. Would it matter to you if he turned the tables and blamed it on men that gain 50 pounds and play playstation and blog all day long, if he told them to make every effort to better themselves so that their wives would find them sexually desirable. I don't care what you think of Driscoll, these are real issues, that people need real help with, that Driscoll was providing. I shudder to think what type of candy coated advice you would provide to people who came to you.

You should be ashamed of using Driscoll's attempts at providing honest and gritty counsel as an attempt to advance your egalitarian efforts.

Robin said...

I don't know if you'll ever post my previous comments, or this one, but after reading some more and looking at the website of the people planning on protesting the church, I've come to think that maybe you just don't understand the difficulty of sexual sin for some men. I am not saying this necessarily because you are a woman, but just the tone of some of the stuff I've been reading (I am aware that you did not write all of it) The various people that have lampooned Mark have been angry that he makes such unreasonable suggestions as ...having a male assistant? They have been angry at the fact that he didn't encourage wives to also develop their intellects so they would be sexually attractive.

It seems to me that those that disparage Mark are angry about his tone (which I understand and is an appropriate critique) But they are also angry that he deals with the real issues that real men face instead of the way that they wish men dealt with sin. As a married man everything about my wife is important to our sexual relationship, her intellect, emotions, and appearance (and everything else you can think of) But the plain reality is that she can't let all of those other things go as easily as she could her physical appearance. She could gain 100 pounds, and yes that would affect our sex. And yes, I could easily gain 100 pounds and that would also effect it. It is naive to think that it wouldn't and so I don't blame Mark with dealing with the reality of sin. As to the anger about male assistants, etc. It would be nice if we lived in a world where excessive emotional attachment to women you are not married to did not occasionally lead to infidelity, where men weren't tempted by the tv in their hotel room or the internet in their office, where private counseling sessions never became inappropriate, but we don't live in that world. We live in a sinful world and Mark provides some very helpful suggestions for maintaining fidelity in that world, not this idealized world everyone else portrays.

Lastly, Mark has come under criticism for his focus on men being men. I do not think it is possible to objectively look at the church situation in this counrty and maintain that by and large church men have become either marginalized, feminized, or left the church altogether. Any attempt to get men to return to the church and reclaim a role as spiritual men is positive in my book. [For contextual purposes I grew up in the Catholic Church in the Midwest and never saw a male in any leadership position in my 20 years in the church, except for the priest]

Robin said...

Snce Mark's advice to pastors concerning sexual sin was to misogynist for you, I would like to know, What twelve pieces of advice would you give to young pastors, male or female, in order to help them avoid sexual sin?

Winn said...

Yo Robin,

May I suggest that you take some of the energy that you obviously have in this area and apply it to a path of critical thinking about the subject instead of defending Driscoll's point of view, ad nauseam. Surely, you must be developing these skills if you are "perusing your Ph.D."

Driscoll does have a theological bias, but so do we all, including you and me. He has a right to think that what he thinks is correct. But, it is just his theological opinion. Others have a different theological opinion. And yes, both may be Christians and think differently.

In your effort to defend Driscoll, you have accused Rose of misunderstanding him. Is it possible that you have simply read Rose and misunderstood her? Maybe reading her with a different set of lens might produce a different result.

May I suggest that in your theological journey you read William Webb's book on Hermeneutics which addresses the women and homosexual links and then have a dialog with someone who is not in your theological camp about the implications of his book. It would be a great growing experience for you.

revsharon said...


Rose, if you find the journey as a women in ministry is sometimes lonely & challengin, I suggest you check these folks out!

Anonymous said...

gosh. i know i'm a minority on this site, but i hope i still have a voice.

i'm a woman. and i have been encouraged and liberated by the truth mark driscoll has shared with me.

my thoughts are here:

i guess, in general, i'd like this whole situation to be less focused on personal rights, and more focused on jesus. as christian's, it's His face and His face alone we should pursue.

Anonymous said...

Mike Clawson said...

...People have tried to make appointments to express their concerns face-to-face and have been turned away...

Probably the reason Mark Driscoll doesn't respond is that requests are lost in the storm of "flirtatious women" calling and trying to lead him astray.

I totally support your efforts, Rose.

Marsh said...

well said, my friend.

love and peace to you in Christ.

Rhology said...

Rose (and anyone else),

I don't know how to trackback (b/c I'm a n00b) but I replied to your letter, if you care to read it.
Respond if you like! All are welcome.


Jessica Landon said...

Rose et al,

Your heart is truly in your writing. Jealousy, selfishness, feminism, and pride overlfow from you heart and into the things you write. Good luck with being humble and learning with what it means to submit to the Scriptures.

Anonymous said...

Miss Rose,

This matter of sexuality in ministry has been around awhile and I would also say that your point of view has been around just as long.

Isn't your real issue and agenda as simple as interpreting the Bible in a literal sense and accepting it for it's literal value when that interpretation can be best understood literally?

Your presuppositions begin wrong because you have a personal interest in the misinterpretation of 1 Timothy 3:1-2 "This is a faithful saying: If a "man" desires the position of a bishop, "he" desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the "husband of one wife,"

My point is that when you speak from the perspective of a pastor you might want to be sure you qualify for that office before you do. If it were up to you and people like you, that entire chapter would be de-genderized and great damage done to the intent of scripture as it was written. This is not a cultural issue, it is one of obedience in spite of culture. You have deceived yourself into thinking that you have far too much to lose to humble yourself to God and simply accept His word as it written and obey and submit to it because you are a woman. You are not a critic of Mr. Driscoll's, you are a false teacher who should be shunned until she repents. Please do not do any further damage to God's word by publicly responding as a pastor to a pastor and doing greater damage than you already have.

Joy said...


I just finished reading the latest comments on this post.

I am feeling pained for you and wanted to step in hear and give you a word of encouragement.

I found your words to be absent of an incendiary attitude in response to a very incendiary blog post. Yet you have received some very hard criticisms.

I am so encouraged by your ability and willingness to communicate with MD via the internet. I think we need to realize we are all a part of the priesthood of believers... whether one is egalitarian, complimentarian or otherwise... MD is still a man and giving him a pedestal or holding him up as too important to bother is just wrong. God is no respecter of man!

As for those who were considered important in the church, their reputation doesn't concern me. God isn't impressed with mere appearances, and neither am I.
Galatians 2:6

James Church said...

Rose- may be I am uniique in the blogsphere as one who wants to applaud Mark Driscoll's frankness. As a male in ministry it Mark's words come as a criticism, warning, and reminder with a whole load of good advice for pastors (male or female) - ok Mark's rhetoric comes across a bit strong, we can personalise Mark's words, and cry about how much they've offended my sensibilities and to some extent it is appropriate to point that out to Mark. But at the end of the day so often people write academically balanced, non-judgemental responses, that are easily ignored.

At the end of the day I am very glad Mark took the time to respond to your criticisms and you were certainly right to criticise Mark's nuance (or lack of it) but we all need to hear that sexual sin is hardly ever two peoples problem (normally it involves wives or husbands of both partners) as well as practices and habits that leave men or women open to sin.

At the end of the day we would all be wise to take heed of what Mark was trying to say- for the sake of the weaker brother or sister.

Yours in Christ,

Gray said...


Your comments toward robin are demeaning toward women. Why must you condescned and assume she doesn't know hermenneutics because of her view?


Obviously the most liberated and free-thinking of posters on here are given toward hateful speech.
It seems some of you may need to pull that log out before you go after the speck in Driscoll's eye.

Moreover, please don't assume that complementarians are only so because of their traditions. That is disrespectful and extremely short-sighted. Do you really think Driscoll (and most of us) are not aware of all the egalitarian literature and arguments? Please. I find it weak exegetically and intellectually unsatisfying. I find egalitarianism (or evangelical feminism) as dishonoring to God...as do many others. That conclusion is not based on being taught that way growing up or because I am revolting against what I was always taught (as seems to be the position of many egalitarians)...but through careful study.

Maybe in all your calls for kindness and cnsideration of others, you might actually practice it on others.....or you could just "protest", because that's the godly response. (sigh)

Anonymous said...

Good post. What really struck me about his, was how convinced he seems to be that there are this many women around itching to get at their pastors, and that said women (if they actually exist in that quantity) are so terribly hard to resist. He writes as though it were some sort of cliffhanger. His office and house sounded like forts where he holds out against these denizens who might tempt him to sin. Somehow I doubt that things really are, or have to be, so melodramatic.

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restoring the gospel said...

I would consider myself a daughter of my Father in heaven rather than a daughter of Eve, as per your wife’s article. I believe the work of Jesus has reversed the curse and set me free. I no longer live in Genesis Chapter 3.

Scripture does say we are children of God (1 John 3:1), however the context in which Grace was refering is from 1 Tim 2, which says:

"A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner."

Scripture clearly teaches that men and woman are equal(Gen 1:27), but that they also have differing roles. Men and woman are to model the roles given in creation. Men are prone to fall where Adam did, and woman to fall where Eve did. In this sense we are children of Adam and Eve, and in the same ways God ordered them to grow in sanctification (work and leadership for men, and submission and child rearing for woman), so are we to grow in sanctification. In addition these are the areas where both will likely be challenged the most.

This is the biblical view and should be held above all other in regards to this issue. This is the redeemed egalitarian view and is what pleases God, esspecially because He inspired these truths to be in scripture. I have heard Marshill teach this position constantly, and is most consistant with scripture, and fruitful.

Let us not forget that there is equality in the Trinity, but that there also exists different roles, such as Christ submitting to the Father.

The points in your blog seem to be more opinionated rather then scripturely backed. Please provide more scriptural substance if you seek to effectively change Driscoll's mind, along with the MarsHill position. That is the only thing that will be of any true affect because that is what they claim to submit most to.

Thanks for letting me post.

Anonymous said...

Coming from London and being miles away from this debate even i can see that this is just jealousy

I remember listening to Rick Warren says how he only limits his time with talkin to influencers and also i remember reading in the Bible how God told Habukuk in the Bible to give the vision to the RUNNERS not the sitters and the pretenders or the moaners...

my point being why would a guy who pastors and influences tens of thousands waste time answering someone who's mind is already made up, who dosent influence very many people?

whether he's right or wrong i think u shuld move on...

Anonymous said...

Coming from London and being miles away from this debate even i can see that this is just jealousy

I remember listening to Rick Warren says how he only limits his time with talkin to influencers and also i remember reading in the Bible how God told Habukuk in the Bible to give the vision to the RUNNERS not the sitters and the pretenders or the moaners...

my point being why would a guy who pastors and influences tens of thousands waste time answering someone who's mind is already made up, who dosent influence very many people?

whether he's right or wrong i think u shuld move on...

Anri said...


Thanks for the hummble and gentle spirit in which you've written this letter. To me an example of what Jesus had in mind when he spoke on Kingdom values 'Blessed are the peacemakers'


Trey said...

the bunny rabbit part actually was funny...
you should strive to be more peaceful and tolerant about other people's interpretations of the bible.
Your brother in Christ,

Brad said...

I'm sure this was a good post, but I only got to the part that mentioned N.T. Wright. So you are on the same page with this guy? If so, then we can see your comments flow from the heresy you embrace, not from our Christ.

For the Supremacy of Christ in all things, -- bRAD

Anonymous said...

glad to hear you got your peeps patting you on the back.

Pastor Jim said...

Words cannot express how hurtful this type of public discourse is. You are free to disagree with Brother Mark, after the proper measures have been taken. As a Pastor, you hold a sacred trust to protect the body against the influence of Satan to publicly divide the Body of Christ.

I have only one question. Are you in accord with the following scripture?
Matthew 18:15,

15"If your brother sins against you,[a] go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'[b] 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

Your blog is unclear if you have attempted to contact Mark directly regarding his comments. In the future, I would encourage you to do so. Until then, I hold all of your comments in contempt of scripture.

God Bless you.

Anonymous said...

Rose, there is a reason Mars Hill Church is the biggest in your state, mark is offensive about people who deserve to be offended, not about unbelievers, but about people who claim to be christians and refuse to act like real men, who have sex with other men, we need my more Mark Driscolls in the church and less people like yourself, actinglike stray disgruntled ducks towards God's appointed leaders for the generation. quaking franticly about "Hurtfull rhetoric" I mean come on, really? This anti mars hill coalition you are forming is like trying to ice skate up hill. As far as i can see he hasn't even dignified this obsurd monologue with a response. I'm sorry about my rant but its this sickeningly overpowering pussyfooting about issues that stop men comming to church. Being a peace maker sometimes means fighting a war first

Brad Cooper said...

Thanks to Rose Swetman for opening my eyes. Before reading her enlightening letter to Mark Driscoll, I was bound to take the Bible far too literally. Now, however, I realize that Paul and Peter and the rest of that motley crew that wrote the New Testament were really just victims of the ideology of a patriarchal society. And they only thought they were speaking and writing down God's words. I'm sure thankful that the apostle Rose has set me straight.

Apparently, Paul and Peter did not understand all the ramifications of the atonement. But now in these last days, God has revealed it to us through his daughter Rose. If they had understood it, they would never have written things about women being submissive to the authority of men (e.g., I Corinthians 11:3-10; Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:11-15; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-7; etc.). And as strongly and clearly and repeatedly as they state this idea of women being in submission to men, they must have been really deceived.

But now it has become clear to me that the revelation given in Galatians 3:28 trumps all of these other passages of Scripture. In fact, I'm beginning to wonder if we really need all of that other stuff in the New Testament. It's probably just a waste of time reading it. We can keep the passages about the atonement and then just figure out how to apply it ourselves. We can surely apply it better than the New Testament writers. After all, we're not blinded by cultural ideologies like they were.

And even in choosing passages about the atonement, we need to be careful. For instance, Philippians 2:5-11 teaches that Jesus was equal with God yet submitted to him. And thanks to Rose, we know that it is not right for someone to submit to someone else who is their equal. In fact, now that I think about it, I've been submitting to my bosses at work and the lawmakers of this state and this country for far too long. And I don't think that I am the least bit inferior to them. And submitting to their authority is like admitting that they are better than me. Wow! I really think I'm getting the hang of this. This whole thing is really setting me free. Thanks for such transformational teaching, Rose.

I'm sure that some reading this will comment that the tone of my sarcasm bothers them. It bothers me, too--in much the same way that it bothers me when Paul says he wishes the circumcision group would just go the whole way and emasculate themselves (Galatians 5:12). I am yelling at the top of my lungs because it is time to stop playing games with the teaching of Scripture. It's time to stop pretending that it is all very civil or a matter for academic debate or that everyone has a right to his or her opinion or blah, blah, blah. There are times when that is true. It is not true when the teaching of Scripture is so very clear--as it is on this subject.

This issue is not about justice. It is about righteousness. It's not so much about women submitting to men as it is about everyone submitting to God.

In the passages about women submitting to men that are cited in the second paragraph above there are some very clear warnings. More than that: All Scripture is God breathed. It comes from the very mouth of God. And God does not stutter. Too deny this basic teaching is to call the writers of almost every book in the Bible a liar, because it is taught in very clear terms throughout. This is not fundamentalist teaching. This is the teaching of the Bible. If you do not accept the Bible's teaching just be honest and say so. People who label Driscoll as a fundamentalist simply do not want to submit to God. They want to pick and choose what they will accept from the Bible. In other words, they are the final authority. They have made themselves the gods of their own lives. How very postmodern of them.

Rose and associates claim that Mark Driscoll is vulgar. I have only very limited experience with Mark's teaching and lifestyle, so I am in no position to judge that. But it is hypocritical for Rose to comment on his vulgarity when she writes such vulgar stuff. To adopt the ideology of the world by finding one or two verses that can be made to appear to agree with it (but at the same time denying the clear teaching of several other passages of Scripture in order to do so), is nothing less than vulgar (common). To deny the authority of Scripture is to deny the authority of Christ himself. And to deny Christ's authority while claiming that he is Lord is nothing less than taking his name in vain.

It's time for repentance to begin within the Church. If we will not repent and submit to God's Word, how can we expect a lost world to do so?

Let God be true and every man (and woman) a liar. To Christ alone be all glory and honor and power and authority.

Brad Cooper

Jonalyn Grace Fincher said...

It's been awhile since this thread has been active, but I thought that if you are still working out responses you'd enjoy a recent Open Letter I crafted. This one in reaction to a video I saw and the more recent Christianity Today Article. See www.jonalynfincher.com
I appreciate your response. Thank you for noting the harm Mr. Driscoll's labels are causing.
Grace and hope,

Anonymous said...

I know this is sort of old.. But I can't believe the amount of fuzzy logic involved in this criticism. You say approximately one complete thought in about three or four over-worded sentences. You don't use precise scripture to back up your claims. So what if women should only be allowed to teach women and children. The fact that you consider this a lower position, is an insult to women and children.
What if male pastors took it as an insult that they do not get the position of pastor over women groups? Why doesn't this ever happen?
So Jesus set everyone free from the requirements and advice laid out clearly in the Bible? Are you serious?

John Vian said...

I find Rose Swetman's argument very weak because of the lack of scriptural reference. Like most women in this day and age, she comes to a conclusion without any evidence. Call me a woman hater if you like but the feminist mindset sounds a bit demonic, chauvinistic and out of order with God's Holy Word.

Swetman's leadership easily fits what the apostle Paul warned about ... saying false teachers can often be identified by their opposition or indifference to the essential truths of the gospel.
"For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith." -2nd Timothy 3:6-8

If Paul said it, I believe it for God's Word does not lie. For those of you who think this scripture is taken out of context, you're only fooling yourselves.

Anonymous said...

Almost one year later, and there's controversy brewing again.

KING 5 News: Controversy Brewing at Seattle's Mars Hill Church


Trevor Carpenter said...

I've read this letter twice now. Once over a year ago, and again today.

The one thing that strikes me is how unclear you are regarding the standard flow of a blog.

The concept of an open, interactive discussion is what makes this medium so wonderful and new.

Quite a few people, on both sides of the issues, have asked for interaction and response from you. Nothing. You have said nothing. You may have contacted them personally, that is great. However, this is nothing more than your own soapbox, with others yelling back at you, if you don't interact and respond.

Oh, it's hard work, but that's the point of a blog.

Don't just shoot from the hip, and then walk away! Get back here, and respond to some of the comments above. Otherwise, you make yourself to be not worth even listening to, let alone discussing with.

Anonymous said...

This is fantastic.

Amber and Cliff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amber and Cliff said...

Rose my only hope is that you would have gone and shown him "his faults" before bringing them before the church. That is what scripture ask of us.

Wes said...

Even if we are in the future kingdom to come, and we are all 'reigning with Christ' - that does not mean that while we are still in the kingdom on earth that there are not gender roles on earth we are to live out. If the future kingdom is here, and we are all reigning with Christ, then it got here and we started reigning right after Christ raised from the dead.

Which means, that the Apostle Paul also was reigning with Christ in this new kingdom when he wrote in 1 Timothy 2, "Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control."

While many have perverted this text to teach that it somehow is no longer relevant, it is a clear command from scripture for the gender roles in which God insists to be so. He does not do this because He hates women, or because He values them less, for we are all heirs of Grace together - but it, just like all his laws and commandments, is because of His great love for us.

I pray that you will be free of your bondage to this most unfortunate untruth to which you have falsely been taught, and that Christ will bless you tremendously in your submission to the truth of who Christ has made and called us to be as men and women.

God bless you friend.

Kathleen said...

Thank you, Rose, for posting this. Public teaching and rhetoric needs to be tested by those of us believers who seek truth.

Much has been written since Mr. Driscoll's "Ted Haggard/wife" comments, and it seems his shock jock approach has gotten him censored -


There are serious authoritarian problems with his teachings, where he and others eternally subordinate the Son Jesus to the Father God in the Trinity, bringing in many hierarchical teachings into body life of the Church and in marriage and in general male/female relationships.

Will his defenders defend his abusive and insensitive manipulation in his teachings in the link I provided? The incredible sensitive nature of that topic should have been left to couples counseling, not a public pulpit, and especially the way HE handled it. The marriage bed is undefiled -- that is, up until this particular sermon of his. This teaching was given this month, June '09.

The Matthew 18 context is one of personal offense against a brother or sister. This is public teaching and ought to be publicly confronted, since it was not done in a box and many people are taking in teaching that is spiritually manipulative and even biblically debatable.

It's interesting the kind of comments here judging your motives. This is indicative of spiritually abusive tactics, and it tends to happen with people who feel passionate about a particular leader. Jeff VanVonderen's book on spiritual abuse is very helpful.

Wes said...

Christ was in submission to the father, thus the father was over Christ. How many times did Christ say, "I only do what the Father tells me to do", or "I say only what the father tells me to say"? Yes He was fully God, but He was also fully submissive to God, who is above Him in rank.

Also, Paul says, "22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." (Ephesians 5:22-24).

Seems obvious that the hierarchy of Christ's relationship to us then, is not also supposed to be shown through Marriage, why? Because marriage is Gospel, it is to teach the world how Christ relates to his people - We submit to the Love & Authority of Christ, and likewise, Wives are to submit to the Love and Authority of their husbands, Eph. 5:25.

Its about the Gospel, not "Women can do anything men can do cause we're equal." Go ahead, waste your life proving you can do anything a man can do - but its not the best Christ as for you. Christ would want you to know the Love of the Father through submission to the Lord and ultimately your Husband - to learn the power of a gentle and quiet spirit that only comes through powerful faith to empower your submission to your husband when everything inside of you wants to rage, or assert your will above his - just as our faith is to help us submit to Christ in the same way.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen this?

Anonymous said...

Amber and Cliff,
If you have been a part of the Mars Hill church body then you know how Driscoll handles people who wish to question him or express concern about his teachings. He will not grant them an audience and then often will shame them, sometimes from the pulpit. And fear for what he is capable of is why I'm making this anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this. I go to a Vineyard church - makes me proud to be a part of the Vineyard to read what you wrote. I am continually taken aback by how unChristlike Driscoll's words are. He does not represent the humble, loving Jesus that the Bible tells us about. Did you ever get a response from him? I am guessing that you didn't, but I am curious.

Anonymous said...

Ladies - especially ladies...you can avoid all this by becoming an atheist. We lead much happier, fuller and kinder lives than any of the religious. Religion is not for women. If wifely submission, servitude and slavery was a gods plan then women would only have an IQ of 80 and only yearn for servitude. Not so though. Let it go. There is no god. You'll be much happier with out "him".

Les Phillips said...

Sorry, but I have to disagree with you. I stand strongly behind Mark and feel that he is one of the few pastors out there actually calling men to be men and women to be women in the manner that God intended. Unfortunately, our current society is plagued by self-serving attitudes and is not always prepared to hear the truth that Mark speaks. I thank God for giving us a man like Mark.

Kathleen said...

Les, what was God's "intention" with women in regards to their personal callings with God? Do you have a definitive answer for what that looks like in each individual woman?